My topic:  An Intercultural Training Program for Teachers facing Multicultural Groups of Students

Specifically, this will be applicable in Hawaii- a Western (mainland U.S.) cultured teacher facing a class of students of multiple cultures (mainland, local Hawaiian, Japanese, pacific islander cultures, among others)

Title (5pts):  Improving Teacher Effectiveness to Multicultural Groups through Intercultural Training

1.  Introduction & Justification (20pts):

With the increase of mobility and globalization, people are moving around and being forced to interact with other cultures today more than ever.  (Brislin and Yoshida).  Intercultural training programs are becoming a necessity in being an effective communicator to members outside of one's own culture, also measured as intercultural communication competence (Brislin and Yoshida, Gudykunst, Wiseman).

Many classrooms today have teachers and students of different cultures.  This is increasingly becoming the norm in Hawaii, and will most likely continue as an upward trend globally as we become more connected.  The Internet has created a 'global village' which has been harnessed by online education (McLuhan).  Often teachers of courses, both in the classroom and in the virtual classroom, will experience students of multiple ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Teaching strategies need to be developed that will allow students of all cultures to participate, interact, and learn material effectively.  This need shows the importance of an intercultural training program for teachers which will allow them to appreciate the cultural differences of their students and create an environment where students of all cultures have minimal culture shock (Fontaine, 2003).  Reducing stress from culture shock will help create an equal opportunity for students to learn.

While teachers in Hawaii may be aware of the cultural differences between them and their students, many do not know how to adjust their teaching style and classroom practices to maximize participation and learning from students of cultures besides their own.  Teachers will need to work at becoming more bicultural and show higher levels of intercultural communication competence (Kim, Wiseman), as well as an ability to establish a trustworthy relationship with students and increase their likeability (Gordon).  These skill will allow teachers to become effective and appropriate in cultures other than their own.

2.  Objectives:  At the end of the training program, participants will be able to show the following outcomes:

  1. Cognitive (25pts)

Teachers will learn about Hofstede's cultural dimensions.  The concepts of individualism / collectivism, masculinity / femininity, power distance, long / short term orientation and uncertainty avoidance will be explored.  (Hofstede)  They will also explore high and low context cultures. (Edward Hall)

They will learn about some of the traits of their own culture, and will reflect on how closely they associate with those cultural traits.  (Hofstede, Hall, Min-Sun Kim, Markus and Kitayama). 

Teachers will then select other cultures that differ from their own culture, and explore the differences (compare / contrast) between that culture and their own.

Teachers will be educated on the culture shock that can be experienced by a student in a classroom environment of a different culture.  This culture shock can produce stress and anxiety, both of which inhibit the student's ability to learn.  (Gudykunst, Fontaine)

Teachers will learn about the positive relationship that student and group trust can have on their classrooms.  They will be taught how the student / teacher relationship revolves around trust, and how perceived trustworthiness can lead students to achieve.  (Gordon)

Teachers will learn about likeability and the result that positive communication experiences can have on student production and achievement (Downs and Clampitt).

    2.  Affective (10pts)

The teacher will attempt to see what it feels like to feel culture shock.  The teachers will try to directly experience culture shock themselves, by interacting with another culture they are unfamiliar with.  The desired outcome will be for the teacher to feel empathy towards those experience culture shock, and develop ways to minimize it. 

Another goal will be for the teacher to feel an appreciation of other cultures and their behaviors- with hopefully a new respect for other's belief systems.

    3.  Psychomotor (10pts)

Teachers will role-play and develop skills that will help not only themselves deal with culture shock, but their students experience reduced culture shock.  Their role playing will allow them to put to use the information they have learned, and will help them to view their own actions.  They will evaluate themselves and be peer evaluated to see where they may be culturally insensitive.  Teachers will see how trust and likeability affect the way that they are perceived.

3.  Methodology (15pts)

The intercultural training program for improving teacher effectiveness to multicultural students will take place over a weekend before the school term begins.  The two day program will have a follow up meeting at a later date in the term to check up and see how the strategies learned have worked (or not worked) in the classroom. 

Day 1:  Cultural Information and Education

The first day of the program will involve teachers partaking in learning cultural information.  This information will involve learning the cognitive information presented above- such as Hofstede's cultural dimensions and self-construal theory.  Teachers will be assigned the task of examining their own culture through the dimensions, and will then be prompted to come up with possible shortcomings their behavior might display to people of other cultures.

Teachers will be taught how trust can improve the student - teacher relationship, and how likeability (of the teacher) can go a long way in determining the success of the student. 

The idea of Intercultural communication competence will be taught to teachers, so that they have an idea of what features make them more interculturally effective (lowering stress levels, becoming more competent in dealing with other cultures).  Teachers will realize the importance of ICC between themselves and students, as well as the benefit of ICC between students.  This will increase communication satisfaction among students and lead to higher satisfaction and productivity.

The teachers will be assigned homework to look up online ( some of the cultures they have or anticipate having in their classrooms, and compare those cultures to their own cultural identity.

Day 2:  Putting the theory into practice

The second day of the training will focus on teachers sharing their homework with other people in the training program.  They will have the ability to discuss as a group some of the differences they perceive between themselves and their anticipated (diverse) group of students.  Empathy for other cultures and the avoidance of culture shock will be encouraged.

Teachers will then be put into small groups and asked to strategize on how they might reduce culture shock in their classrooms.  Teachers will work together to develop strategies and ways to reduce behaviors that may come across as extreme to the anticipated group of students the teacher will face.  Once a list is prepared, the teachers will help each other develop a replacement set of activities / behaviors that will be more culturally sensitive and more generally accepted.  This list will be saved by the teacher and the intercultural training leader for review at a later date- after attempting to implement the new strategies in the classroom.

Short meeting at a later date:  Following up

A short meeting between the intercultural training leader and the teachers will be scheduled for later in the semester.  They will be asked to fill out a survey that will ask questions such whether their strategies were successful or a failure, and how well the teachers felt they successfully changed their behavior.  Questions will be answered on a Likert scale similar to the following example:

Question:  How successful were your strategies in the classroom (circle one):
Successful  5    4    3    2    1  Unsuccessful

4.  Evaluation (15pts)

Towards the end of the first day, a quiz would be given to the teachers in the intercultural training program.  They would be asked questions on the material that was presented to them during the day.  For instance: 

Masculine cultures are known for:

a.  male submissiveness
b.  traditional male work role
c.  primitive male behavior
d.  female responsibility of the traditional work role

The participants will be required to achieve a 75% score on the quiz.

During the second day of training, questions will be given to the participants asking them to rate their empathy of other cultures to test for belief and attitude readjustment. 

Example question:  My students' feeling of culture shock can be reduced by adjusting my teaching style.
Agree  5    4    3    2    1  Disagree

At the end of the second day, questions will also ask participants to peer-rate each other's role playing to test whether or not psychomotor skills were applied.

Example Question:  Bob was successful at role-playing his new strategy
Agree  5    4    3    2    1  Disagree

Upon meeting later in the term to follow up on effectiveness, participants will explain the effectiveness of their modified teaching strategies.

Example Question:  Bob successfully implemented the strategies developed in the training program.
Agree  5    4    3    2    1  Disagree



Gordon, D.  Improving Trust in the Classroom - Harvard Education Letter, 2002.  (trust)

Downs, Clampitt and Pfeiffer.  Communication and Organizational Outcomes, 1988.  (likeability)

Gudykunst.  Anxiety Uncertainty Management Theory, 1990?.

McLuhan, M.  Theories of Globalization and Global Village, 1960?.

Hofstede, G.  Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions

Hall, Edward.  High and low context cultures.

Kim, Min-Sun.  Non-Western Perspectives on Human Communication, 2002.

Brislin and Yoshida.  Intercultural Communication Training, 1994.

Fontaine, G.  Course on Intercultural Communication, Fall 2003.

Singer, M.  Intercultural Communication, 1987.

Wiseman, R.  "Intercultural Communication Competence", 2001.